The distracted feeling of the past couple of weeks persisted through the Cincy 3 weekend, leading to my blowing off Friday completely and a pretty bad finish on Saturday. Sunday morning, my body showed up, but my head didn't. A minute or so into the race I made a stupid mistake that resulted in my laying on the ground, overwhelmed by how much I didn't want to be racing at that particular moment. Then I cried. I got up, got my chain on, and forced myself to proceed forward on the course, because DNFing a 'cross race is stupid. There was really no hiding my rock-bottom status, though, as I pedaled around the course and when everyone at the Shamrock tent asked me what was wrong as I came by, it was pretty embarrassing. Ultimately, I still passed three girls without really trying, but it was still a pretty bad day.
Anyway, after the race was over and I managed to get dressed and gain my composure only to lose it again every time someone tried to hug/console/encourage me. (As my friend Emily used to say, DOOOON'T LOOK AT IT!) Rebecca tried to make me feel better by saying that she was also beaten by some Cat 4 girls. My reply was that I had been beaten by A LOT of Cat 4 girls the day before, but in my assessment of Sunday's race, "people that beat you when you're crying don't count." As soon as it was out of my mouth, I knew how ridiculous it sounded, but it inspired much strategizing among those present. If you extrapolate on my theory, the easiest way to win is just to start bawling on the starting line. Tim even made it a point to tell me after his race that he forgot to cry.
|I normally only choose the most flattering pictures for the blog, but this one seemed appropriate. This is my "trying to outsprint mid-pack Cat 4's" face.|
Oh well. Not the proudest moment of my racing career. So the question now is what to do next. I'm obviously no more adept now than I was a year ago at pulling myself out of a slump, although I actually came up with some good ideas this morning that I would like to try. It occurred to me that I should have focused on what I could have done well at Harbin, rather than the fact that I was ultimately doomed to fail. I had a front-row start with a selective feature early in the race (multiple successive off-camber turns). Instead of thinking about how I couldn't hang with the top ten riders' pace the whole race, I should have focused on going out as hard as I possibly could and just focused on staying in the top ten through the off-camber section, so that I could gain the advantage of avoiding the cluster-fudge that ensued. Then if I had something left, I could kill it through the first sand pit and see where I stood. I still might have faded at the end, but it would have put me in a position for a possibly decent finish. I think I need start reminding myself to figure out *something* good that I can do each race and maybe build on that.
So I'm not ready to toss away the season, but I am questioning the wisdom of going to the USGP this weekend. Even last year when I was on an upswing, the conditions of the USGP (hotel bed, restaurant food, super early start, no OVCX points) didn't exactly set me up for a good race. It didn't really matter that much because I was just there to have a good time and celebrate my birthday in 'crossy style. A couple of not-great races just slid off my back. However, right now I want to do what I can to really set myself up to have a good race next time I line up on the starting grid, so I'm not sure if starting another "distracted" race is a good idea. I sort of feel like my head, legs, and, frankly, liver might like to take the weekend off, even if it is the most fun weekend of the year.
Perhaps I'll just sleep in on Sunday morning, go for a leisurely ride, then take a blow-up doll down to Bryan Park and give hand-ups to the folks on the walking trail. I'm sure it will be just as good and that I won't get arrested for at least an hour or so. That could make a way more interesting blog post than some moderate level of success in a race would, right?